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CBS Weekend News: COVID-19 Survivor Story

CBS Weekend News recently covered the story of Natalie Coelho, a Cedars-Sinai patient, who simultaneously tackled breast cancer and COVID-19.

Coelho was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer in June this year. As if that weren’t worrisome enough, about one month into her cancer therapy, her husband caught the virus and Coelho was stricken with a formidable case of COVID-19, requiring nine days of hospitalization at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

"I had two things going against me," Coelho told CBS News reporter Lilia Luciano. "It was very scary."

Luciano reported that Coelho’s breast medical oncologist, Reva Basho, MD, recommended that Coelho pause her immunosuppressive cancer treatments for a few weeks so that her immune system could better fight COVID-19. But Coelho worried that stopping her cancer treatments would allow the cancer to grow.

Basho told Coelho that pausing her treatments probably would not negatively affect her cancer outcome. Coelho agreed to temporarily stop the therapy, and tests showed that her cancer did not grow during the break.

To avoid facing difficult decisions about conflicting cancer and COVID-19 treatments, Basho strongly recommends that cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy be extra vigilant about wearing a mask, washing their hands and distancing themselves from others, particularly during a community outbreak.

Since recovering from COVID-19, Coelho has resumed her usual activities and her positive attitude. But memories of those anxiety-filled days still bring up strong emotions.

"[When] I was in the hospital, they took control of the household," Coelho tearfully told Luciano, referring to how her family handled her time away. "They keep me going, for sure."

Click here for the complete interview from CBS News, which begins at 7:15.